Claire Hailwood gains strength from a Psalm that has become precious to her
I love that the Bible is the living and active word of God, and that he can use the same verses in different seasons to speak new things to us.
Like many families around the UK who are raising children with additional needs, the past two years have been particularly challenging. As we emerge into the summer (both literally and figuratively) with the memories of winter still very much present, Psalm 27 is giving me such strength as I navigate parenting.
It begins with a declaration, remembering who God is, and a reminder to be courageous even in the face of challenge and adversity. It’s a great place to start!
Perhaps it’s just me, but sometimes, in the busyness and stretch of everyday life as a parent, I can feel overwhelmed. In recent months I have often felt that there are more needs than I have capacity to understand, let alone meet! Perhaps you have felt like that too?
Someone once told me (shortly after I became a parent) that I’d only ever be as happy as my unhappiest child – what an encouragement – but perhaps there’s some truth to be taken from it? As a parent, it’s so easy for our well-being to be intrinsically connected to our children’s. When they’re struggling, in school, friendships, because of additional needs or trauma, their health or simply the challenge of growing up in today’s world, then we too can feel overwhelmed. This is only multiplied when we have more than one human we’re raising!
It can feel like it’s too hard or that we’re not equipped.
Perhaps, like me, there have been times where you’ve felt more pain than joy?
Verse 13 has become something of a declaration for me, when I feel it and when I don’t. It’s like a stake in the ground that I need to remember to drive in the sometimes hard ground of my life; I will remain confident, not because of what I can see or my circumstances (good or otherwise), but because of who God is.
“I will see the goodness of the Lord…”
There are two ways that this verse has encouraged me and that I’m learning to use as a weapon to fight discouragement.
“I will see”
I’m trying to make a daily decision to choose gratitude, even for small things and even in the midst of challenges. Gratitude alone won’t change my circumstances but it’s a powerful way to alter my perspective, and perspective has the potential to change everything. Perspective shifts my gaze upwards. Maybe that’s why the psalmist also encourages us to look up and see that that is where our help comes from.
I will choose to see, to look for the good.
‘I will see’
This verse is also a promise of the hope to come. It’s not a vague wish but a confident assurance rooted in who God is and will always be.
Revelation 21 gives us a glimpse of what this hope to come looks like: no more pain, sickness, suffering, injustice or death – all things that contribute to the pain and challenge that we experience this side of eternity.
Following Jesus as a parent involves living in the tension of the now and the not yet.
How do we live in that tension?
For me, verse 14 helps me with that ‘how’:
“Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Grown-ups raising children – maybe today we would get fresh perspective as we wait on him and resolve to see in the way these verses encourage?